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MIAA News Field Hockey - Boys’ Participation Proposal

Recently the MIAA Field Hockey Committee heard a presentation from a group advocating for fair play for girls participating in field hockey and then supported a rule change proposal that would create a 7-on-7 division for boys.
     Many within the sport were positive regarding the initial step toward addressing some of the issues of males competing with and against females, but it did not come without questions and/or reservations.
     “I have no problem with a boys’ league, as long as the opportunity is still available to all boys to continue to play co-ed while that league is created and grown. We need to encourage participation, not focusing on gender,” shared Katherine Hennessy, the Mass. Association of School Committees representative.
     “It’s always been my fundamental belief that high school is for equal opportunity success/ failure. You try different sports, classes, extracurricular activities and you specialize when you go to college,” said Hennessy.
     According to data presented by Hennessy, there were 37 boys playing MIAA field hockey during the 2018-19 season. Two of those played for Somerset Berkley, which last November repeated as Division 1 state champion. She also cited data comparing Wayland, a team with three boys, to Dual County League rival Acton-Boxborough with all girls. Acton-Boxborough won the lone head-to-head meeting, 6-1, in 2019.
     “Shutting down any athletes is not an option. Collectively we should work together to gradually grow the game and interest, and then potentially create a viable boys’ league.
     “We need to remember that we are speaking about high school athletics, and this is a time in a student’s life when they should be encouraged to be involved, not pushed out for their interests or based upon gender, race, etc. All should mean all,” stated Hennessy.
 
(Information from MIAA and Boston Globe)
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